Chapter 2: Somewhere, Under the Barrow...

"Yer goin' ta go where?!" Patrick asks incredulously. "Tell me ye've given this some thought. Tell me ye've at least thought about who to go with ye and what to take! Ooch! The stories I could tell...."

Gregorius shrugs.

"The local barrows. Boustaphan wants me to investigate whether the ruins hold any potentially useful inhabitants. Or contents, of course. And yes, I've heard at least some of the same stories you've heard, which is why I think there probably will be inhabitants. Useful ones I'll admit is rather more in question. It's not as though the locals aren't terrified of the ghosts here, though, and in two years I've never seen them do anything worse than walk through someone."

"As to the rest...Alcimus, obviously. I'm debating whether or not to take any of the other grogs - they probably won't like the idea, and without any form of magic resistance, they may prove to be at least as much of a hindrance as a help. On the other hand, they'd be useful for any digging and carry that needs to be done, and depending on whether we find corporeal undead rather than just incorporeal ones they may be useful in a fight."

"I'll start out slowly. Visit the area around the barrows in day time. Set up a decent ward to retreat to if necessary - any help you could give me with that would be appreciated, but failing that I can probably manage something second or third magnitude on my own. Wait until nightfall, see if anything appears or happens. After that, I'll start thinking about getting into some of the lesser barrows."

[OOC: What are the stories Gregorius has heard about the barrows? Area Lore 2 + 1? places + Int 1 + die 6 = 9/10 (]

There are no stories about the barrows which Gregorius has heard. They are overshadowed by the ruins of Tanais themselves. If the necropolis is thought of at all, it is presumed to be the source of the ghosts which haunt Tanais. More generally, he's heard a wide range of stories about what a barrows may bring -- treasures, undead, passages to Magic and Faerie realms associated with Perdo and/or Corpus. More than one story has told of a King Under The Barrows, often the ruler who was first buried there. These ghosts often have greater power than the others, as they are the focus of the site's mystical energies.

"Aye, that seems a careful plan, laid well, to be sure." Patrick agrees grudgingly.

There is one necropolis to the west and one to the east, both within a few hours walk (less than 1-2). Which do you want to go to first?

[OOC: Are you happy to assume the starting conversation happens at the end of Gregorius creating his PeMe spell? If not, I'll just assume there's a bit of the delay between the conversation and the rest of the thread - I don't think it should make much odds either way.

Potentially relevant stats:

Awareness: 2 (searching) + Per 3 = 5
Second Sight 3 (regiones) + Per 3 +Aura = 6 + Aura
Premonitions 3 (allies) + Per 3 + Aura = 6 + Aura
Hunt 1 (tracking) + Per 3 = 4
Magic Resistance: 10 + Form + Aura (16 + Aura for Mentem).

Awareness: 3 (food) + Per 2 = 5
Hunt 4 (prey) + Per 2 = 6 (+see Special note below)
Magic resistance: 10 + aura

Special: +3 to all rolls involving sense of smell (+2 to Hunt rolls), +3 to rolls involving hearing.]

Gregorius will set out accompanied by Alcimus towards the eastern site, aiming to arrive shortly after midday. He's decided to do without other covenfolk for now, trusting Alcimus to be all the "shield-grog" he needs. He's not intending to do any digging today; however, he's tied up a small spade and pickaxe, together with a hammer and chisel (for circle engravement) into a bundle with a few specimen jars, just in case, and is soon thinking whistfully about PeTe weight destroying effects. Still, he's made sure he can drop it quickly if he needs to, and his pater was always firm about the need to be able to carry your own gear.

[OOC: I'd guess Encumbrance 2 (Burden 3 - Str 1)?]

Did Patrick agree to help him with a back-up sanctury ward?

[Editted to add Hunt and include aura in supernatural ability totals.]

Yes, the conversation happens on the day Gregorius is setting out. Go ahead and pick what day this is.

(missed this the first time around.)

"Oh aye, as they say, 'It's always friendlier when you know the hearthfire is lit at home.' I can set you up the same circle I did for the buildings, fifth magnitude. I'm not doing much today besides reading Blood and Tears some more. S'dense writing."

Ward vs Spirits, ReMe 25 ceremonial spont vs 47 + Aura ? + die 4 /2= at least 25. 75 Minutes.
Addiction: Int 2 + Conc(ignore addiction) 2+1 =5+ (die 1, 2 =4) = 9 vs 13 Patrick ends up going a bit slap-happy with the spell-slinging after you disappear down into the necropolis.

To the east, past the ring of trees, is a undulating set of meadows with the occasional outcropping of worked stone revealed underneath, the quiet clue to what lays beneath. Untended for who knows how long, the grass and turf has grown up over it all. Gregorius can't even tell where it starts or ends.

As he first looks down upon the site with this new purpose in mind, he spies a set of tracks leading down into them. After a few minutes, he realizes that these are Patrick's footprints, heading east and south.

The Cat follows at a discreet distance, her kitten in tow. Her route is less than direct, and she stops occasionally to explore particularly interesting-looking bushes and the like, before sprinting to catch up.


Sorry, that wasn't clear, especially with the changes in his Seasonal Activities. Patrick's footprints follow the rough course of a trail he seems to have been slowly creating himself, one which starts heading east into the cemetery from the covenant (probably to towards the grass sea out beyond that way), but then veers around a hill, and by the time the trail hits the other side of the hill, he's heading south. The footprints are about a week old, but you'd guess someone or something has been infrequently walking this same path for over a year now.

There are some very interesting bushes! This new bush is definitely worth investigating. Oh, wait. That one over there might be more exciting!

Yes, there was some very pungent moss under that bush. It was definitely worth a sniff.

When The Cat finishes exploring that bush, she pops out to see Kitten chasing after a butterfly. Or maybe it's a moth.

First order of business, Gregorius settles his gear firmly in the centre of the circle, then tries to check the local aura with non-fatiguing sponts.

[OOC: Checking the strength of the local aura. Base 2 + 1 Touch = level 3. (Casting total In 6 + Vi 5 + Sta 1 + W&G 2 + Aura ?)/5 = (14 + Aura)/5. Will suceed in any positive aura. He'll try for a magic aura first, then a faerie one.]

The aura in the circle is Magic 2. I presume you are making these preparations while Patrick is ceremonially marking his circle, etc (75 minutes and saves me the trouble of having to roll for his addiction fueled spell slinging).

Since Patrick is using a rod and string to draw the circle, you are actually putting your gear down in the exact center, minus a radius of 1/8pi.

OOC: I forget, those circle CrIg/InVi spells that Patrick made -- are they mobile? If they are, then Patrick would have suggested you bring one with you.

Elsewhere, the kitten has managed to pounce on the butterfly, as much to his surprise as the butterfly's. He now looks terribly confused about what to do, and glances at Momma for advice, his two front paws firmly placed atop the butterfly.

The Cat gets the distinct impression that they are being Observed (tm).

The Cat pricks her ears and looks about carefully, rearing up on hind legs if necessary, in an effort to find the observer. She also takes time to hiss at the kitten to get her attention. (I should clarify, by the way, that the "kitten" is by this point a full-grown cat.)


I hadn't realized that the "kitten" was full-grown. In that case, he is delightedly batting the butterfly around, tearing its wings and crippling the insect as a mere by-product of the "Am I Going To Let You Go? No I'm Not!" game.

Could you give me some relevant totals for Cat and Kitten, the same as Gregorius did? Oh, and both of you should include Hunt scores on that.

Hmm...I know feral cats don't do that, but I'm not sure about cats that, while domesticated, also hunt a lot for food. I need to do some research.

For the Cat:

Awareness (at night): Per +4 + 7 = 11
Second Sight (invisibility): Per +4 + 4 = 8
Hunt (mice): Per +4 + 4 = 8
Magic Resistance: Magic Might 11 + Aura

For the Kitten:

Awareness (at night): Per +4 + 6 = 10
Second Sight (invisibility): Per +4 + 1 = 5
Hunt (mice): Per +4 + 4 = 8
Magic Resistance: Magic Might 8 + Aura


Oh yeah, and add 3 to those totals for anything involving hearing.

Also, if this is morning, subtract 1 for the Nocturnal Flaw.


[OOC: I've editted my original post with the totals. Also, added Alcimus']

[The time should be shortly after midday, unless Gregorius misjudged it - he was aiming to arrive after his parma refresh. On the lamps, my immediate inclination is to say "let's not poke the mobile rings question".]

Gregorius nodded thanks to Patrick as he started casting the ward, but is now careful not to disturb him. He begins an initial overview of the barrows area, looking for any that seem to be disturbed, larger than the rest or otherwise unusual. Alcimus paces a short distance from his side.

The cats on my friends' farm will play with insects, but treat hunting "food" vermin very seriously.

There are several dozen hills which seem to be generally longer east-west than north-south. These hills are of two relatively uniform heights -- the grouping farther from the covenant is shorter than the hills closer in.

After several minutes of careful observation, Gregorius is distracted by Alcimus, who has figured out that the hill which you are both standing on (atop which is Patrick's circle), is possibly another barrow.

Mundane investigation of these areas reveals that they are riddled with animal burrows. One hill, pretty far east and north of the covenant, is deformed compared to the others, but an even layer of grass covers every side.

It is truly difficult to know where the necropolis ends. From certain angles, Gregorius almost imagines that he can see signs of it stretching out across the northern lip of the forest, heading west to connect to the other cemetery.

It is late afternoon by the time The Cat leaps onto a rocky outcropping near Gregorius, as his eyes linger on that faint western trail.

If she can reach him, the Cat rubs against Gregorius affectionately.


Gregorius bends down to the cat.

"Hello, girl. Find anything interesting?"

The Cat looks at him as if he's silly: cats can't talk. Plus, of course, she hasn't actually found anything interesting, except the hand of Gregorius.